Geography

Area: 438,317 sq. km; about twice the size of Idaho.
Cities: Capital--Baghdad (5.7 million, 2004 estimate). Other cities--Basrah, Mosul, Kirkuk, Sulaymaniyah, Erbil. Terrain: Mostly broad plains; reedy marshes along Iranian border in the south with large flooded areas; mountains along the borders with Iran and Turkey.
Climate: Desert, mostly hot and dry.

 

 

People and Economy

People
Nationality: Noun and adjective--Iraqi(s).
Population (July 2011 est.): 30,399,572.
Population growth rate (2011 est.): 2.399%.
Ethnic groups: Arab 75%-80%, Kurd 15%-20%, Turkoman, Chaldean, Assyrian, or others approximately 5%.
Religions: Muslim 97% (Shi’a 60%-65%; Sunni 32%-37%), Christian and others approximately 3%.
Languages: Arabic (official), Kurdish (official), Turkoman (a Turkish dialect), Assyrian, Armenian.
Education: Years compulsory--primary school (age 6 through grade 6). Literacy (2006 UNESCO est.)--74.1%.
Health: Infant mortality rate--41.68 deaths/1,000 live births. Life expectancy--70.55 yrs.

Economy
Type: Parliamentary democracy.
Constitution: October 15, 2005.
Independence: On October 3, 1932, Iraq gained independence from British administration under a League of Nations mandate. Several coups after 1958 resulted in dictatorship, with the Ba’ath Party seizing power in 1963 and again in 1968. From July 1979 to March 2003, Iraq was ruled by Saddam Hussein and the Ba’ath Party. The Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) assumed administrative and security responsibility for Iraq following the March-April 2003 overthrow of the regime, while Iraqi political leaders and the Iraqi people established a transitional government. On June 28, 2004, the CPA transferred sovereignty to the Iraqi Interim Government. A new 4-year, constitutionally based government took office in March 2006, and a new cabinet was installed in May 2006. On June 31, 2009, U.S. troops withdrew from urban areas, a step that reinforced Iraqi sovereignty. On March 7, 2010, Iraq held a second round of national elections to choose the members of the Council of Representatives and, in turn, the executive branch of government.
Branches: Executive--Presidency Council (one president and up to three vice presidents; Council of Ministers (one prime minister, three deputy prime ministers, and 43 cabinet ministers). Legislative--Council of Representatives (COR) consisting of 325 members.Judicial--Supreme Court appointed by the prime minister and confirmed by the Council of Representatives.
Divisions: 18 governorates (muhafazat, singular - muhafazah)--Al Anbar, Al Basrah, Al Muthanna, Al Qadisiyah, An Najaf, Erbil, As Sulaymaniyah, Kirkuk, Babil, Baghdad, Dahuk, Dhi Qar, Diyala, Karbala', Maysan, Ninawa, Salah ad Din, Wasit. One region--the Kurdistan Regional Government.

Government

Type: Parliamentary democracy.
Constitution: October 15, 2005.
Independence: On October 3, 1932, Iraq gained independence from British administration under a League of Nations mandate. Several coups after 1958 resulted in dictatorship, with the Ba’ath Party seizing power in 1963 and again in 1968. From July 1979 to March 2003, Iraq was ruled by Saddam Hussein and the Ba’ath Party. The Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) assumed administrative and security responsibility for Iraq following the March-April 2003 overthrow of the regime, while Iraqi political leaders and the Iraqi people established a transitional government. On June 28, 2004, the CPA transferred sovereignty to the Iraqi Interim Government. A new 4-year, constitutionally based government took office in March 2006, and a new cabinet was installed in May 2006. On June 31, 2009, U.S. troops withdrew from urban areas, a step that reinforced Iraqi sovereignty. On March 7, 2010, Iraq held a second round of national elections to choose the members of the Council of Representatives and, in turn, the executive branch of government.
Branches: Executive--Presidency Council (one president and up to three vice presidents; Council of Ministers (one prime minister, three deputy prime ministers, and 43 cabinet ministers). Legislative--Council of Representatives (COR) consisting of 325 members.Judicial--Supreme Court appointed by the prime minister and confirmed by the Council of Representatives.
Divisions: 18 governorates (muhafazat, singular - muhafazah)--Al Anbar, Al Basrah, Al Muthanna, Al Qadisiyah, An Najaf, Erbil, As Sulaymaniyah, Kirkuk, Babil, Baghdad, Dahuk, Dhi Qar, Diyala, Karbala', Maysan, Ninawa, Salah ad Din, Wasit. One region--the Kurdistan Regional Government.

Iraq

It’s Time to Talk to Iran (Mon, 14 Oct 2019)
With tensions rising in the Middle East and Iran suffering under sanctions, this may be the last best opportunity to walk back from the brink.
>> Read more

Kurds, Turkey and the U.S.: 5 Years of Tension, Alliances and Conflict (Thu, 10 Oct 2019)
Turkey’s attack on Kurdish strongholds along the Syrian border has been years in the making.
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Military Leaders Fear They’ve Seen This Before. It Ended in the Iraq War. (Thu, 10 Oct 2019)
Officials are sounding alarms that clearing the way for Turkey to bomb the Kurds could have long-term repercussions, just as the desertion of allies did three decades ago.
>> Read more

U.S. Moves to Take ‘High Value’ ISIS Detainees, Including Britons Who Abused Hostages (Wed, 09 Oct 2019)
The military is taking several dozen men out of Kurdish-run wartime prisons in Syria as Turkey invades the region.
>> Read more

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